No mountain high enough...
I had my first seizure in the spring of 2006. I was 16, involved in high school sports and I had just qualified to get my driver’s license. I was really looking forward to the summer and the freedom that comes with being able to drive. One Friday evening I arrived home from school to an empty house. My parents were out, so I collapsed on the couch to play some Madden Football on my Play Station.
The next thing I remember is that I was laying on the floor feeling as though I had been hit by a semi-truck. Blood was filling my mouth because I had bitten my tongue so hard it opened a serious gash. As soon as I could stand, I ran to the bathroom to spit out the blood and splash some water on my face. As I toweled the water from my face, I gazed into the mirror and noticed a massive rug burn over my right eye.
As soon as I had pulled myself together, I called my parents and asked them to come home. Both my parents are in medical careers. My dad is a doctor and my mom is a nurse practitioner, so it didn’t take them long to conclude that there was a good chance I had suffered a seizure. They were extremely worried and quickly set up an appointment with the neurology department at the Calgary Children’s Hospital. After a plethora of tests, it was determined that I had indeed experienced an epileptic seizure.
The following six months were very stressful and worrying as we worked with the doctors to find a medication that could provide some control. Until this time, sports had played a huge part in my life, and I was forced to stop playing football and limit other activities that I loved such as baseball and lacrosse. The medication left me feeling continually drowsy and I found it difficult to focus on any task, particularly my studies. High school became incredibly tough and empty of the enjoyment usually associated with this period. To top things off, the medication wasn’t working, and I had five more seizures in the next few months.
That year my entire world was turned upside down. I was forced to make numerous lifestyle adjustments to assist in managing my condition. Thankfully, I now have a medication that controls my seizures and allow me to function normally, though the threat of further seizures remains because currently there is no cure for epilepsy.
However, I am determined to not let epilepsy define who I am or post limits on me. That is why I have decided to take on the challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.